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Michael Murray wins bronze at Pan Am Games in Mexico

Date: 
11/25/2011 - 16:22

Special athlete needs expense help

MichaelMurray.jpgMichael Murray, a gifted 20-year-old paralympic runner from Nashville, TN, recently won the bronze medal in the 1500 meters in international competition at the Parapan (Pan Am) Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. It was Murray’s first medal in international competition. Teammate Markeith Price, also of Nashville, won bronze in the long jump.

The race was run at high altitude and Murray was not running his favorite distance – he prefers the 800 and 400. He suffered cramps and nosebleeds from the altitude and dry air.

His mother, Kathy Murray Mays, said, “Now that he finally got a medal in a race he hates, the (qualifying) standard (for the Paralympic Games in London) will be easier. He holds the Americas’ record of 4:10 and now knows if he can finish 3rd running when he is feeling bad, then there is no limit to what he can do feeling good. It's all mental, but I think that's over. Winning a medal is just what the doctor ordered -- that just unleashed the beast in him and now he's really hungry.”

Qualfying times for Olympic “B” competition is 4:08 and is 4:05 for “A” competition at the London Paralympic Games, she said.
Murray was born with an intellectual disability but that has not stopped him from his Olympic dreams. At an early age, a team of doctors and psychologists determined he was severely language impaired. He is the only runner on the US Paralympics Team
Murray will compete again in London in March at the INAS indoor championship.

After graduating from high school, Michael was invited to run at the USA Paralympics qualifying meet in Florida, after which he was placed on the world team. Michael was the only member of the team with an intellectual disability (T-20). The USA hasn't had a T-20 runner in over a decade. After spending a couple of weeks at the Olympics training facility in California, Michael ran at the Paralympics World Championship meet in Christ Church, New Zealand. He finished 13th in the 1500 to seasoned runners.

In June, Michael competed at the USA Paralympics qualifying meet in Florida and was selected to be a member of the USA Pan American team.

The big goal is to represent the USA at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London as one of the very top runners in the world. Michael currently holds the American record in the 400, 800, and 1500m runs. He is also ranked second in the world in the 800 and 10th in the 1500.

Michael needs funding for these events to help with travel expenses for himself as well as his family. All athletes should be able to look up in the stands and see a family member cheering for them. If you can help, his mother and stepfather, Michael Mays, would be grateful.
Athletes Without Limits is the organization that supports US athletes with intellectual disabilities and Olympic dreams.

“We are proud to stand behind Michael Murray as he paves the way for athletes with intellectual disability in the U.S.,” said Barry Holman, president of the organization, which has a website at http://athleteswithoutlimits.org, where you can read more about Michael.

To assist Michael, you can help sponsor his efforts by going to:
 http://athleteswithoutlimits.org/athletes/sponsorship . “If you can help, we would be more than grateful,” said his mother, who is a math teacher at Pearl-Cohn High School in Nashville.

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